A Rotherham family are marking the ten-year anniversary of the death of their teenage daughter by raising funds for the place that supported them in their darkest hour – Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice.

Abigail Fleming, described as “bubbly with a love of people and life”, spent the final months of her life at Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice after a courageous three-year battle with bone cancer.

She died on April 3rd, 2012 aged 14 after a two month stay at Bluebell Wood, surrounded by her family. The charity pulled out all the stops to help the family make memories, hosting an early ‘sweet 16’ celebration and even helping to organise a private bedside concert with her idol, pop superstar Ed Sheeran.

Now Abigail’s family are marking the emotional anniversary by taking on ten fundraising challenges over the next ten months.

“Abigail was a bubbly character with a love and people and life,” said mum, Maria Fleming, from Maltby.

“Despite the effects of the chemotherapy, her personality meant she remained the mischievous character she had always been.”

In 2011, the family discovered there was nothing more doctors could do to help Abigail.

“After previously visiting a friend at Bluebell Wood, Abigail’s wish was to spend whatever time she had left at the hospice.

“The care and support we received whilst residents of Bluebell Wood was second to none. From the clinical side of care to activities organised and meals provided, it all enabled us to spend more time together as a family.

“At the most difficult time of our lives, the Bluebell Wood team provided us with unconditional support and a shoulder to cry on.

“That’s why we want to raise as much as possible for Bluebell Wood, so they can provide the care we received to other families when they need it the most.”

As well as supporting the family through the heartbreak, Bluebell Wood inspired a career change for Maria.

“The support we received didn’t end when Abigail died, it continued in the shape of counselling for all the family,” said Maria.

“If anything positive came out of what we went through it was that the counselling helped me realise I could help others. In time I decided to train as a counsellor and in 2018 I qualified and began helping others.”

Over the next 10 months mum and dad Maria and Richard will be doing a series of fundraisers including a sponsored head shave, a community fayre and more to reach their £5,000 target. You can support their efforts here.

Jason Gossop, Regional Fundraiser at Bluebell Wood, said: “First of all we’d like to thank the Fleming family not only for their ongoing support, but for all the wonderful things they’ve said about their time at Bluebell Wood.

“It was a privilege to have been there for Abigail and her family in those final months and this is such a moving and thoughtful way to honour her memory.

“Thanks to your ongoing support, we can continue to support other families going through the unimaginable devastation of losing a child.”